What may have started as a joke in season two and evolved into a hashtag campaign by fans is now coming to fruition.
More than seven years after the former NBC comedy wrapped its run with its sixth and final season on Yahoo, cult favorite comedy Community is officially getting its long-awaited movie. Peacock, NBC’s streaming counterpart, has greenlit the untitled Community movie after landing the project from series creator Dan Harmon following a bidding war with other platforms.
Six of Community’s nine central stars will return for the movie: Joel McHale (Jeff), Danny Pudi (Abed), Alison Brie (Annie), Gillian Jacobs (Britta), Jim Rash (Craig) and Ken Jeong (Ben). Donald Glover (Troy), Chevy Chase (Pierce) and Yvette Nicole Brown (Shirley) are not currently attached to the movie. Reps for Peacock declined comment on their status and if any negotiations were expected to transpire to reunite all nine original stars. It’s worth noting, though, that all three stars departed Community before the canceled NBC comedy was revived for what became its sixth and final season on Yahoo as part of the online portal’s short-lived experiment with scripted originals. Chase famously clashed with Harmon and has been open about his jerk-like behavior on the set of the comedy produced by Sony Pictures Television. Glover appeared in only a handful of early season five episodes and did not return for the eventual series finale. He of course went on to earn critical praise and an Emmy for creating, writing and starring in FX’s Atlanta. Brown, meanwhile, left after season five in order to care for her father. She did return for the series ender.
“‘Six seasons and a movie’ started out as a cheeky line from Community’s early seasons and quickly ignited a passionate fan movement for this iconic, hilarious and cool (cool, cool) NBC comedy,” said Susan Rovner, chairman of entertainment content at NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. “We’re incredibly grateful that 15 years later, we are able to deliver fans this promised movie and can’t wait to get to work with Dan Harmon, Andrew Guest, Joel McHale, Sony and our partners at UTV to continue this epic comedy for Peacock audiences.”
Harmon will write the script alongside Guest. The latter penned five episodes of Community during its first two seasons and counts Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Marry Me and Suburgatory among his credits. Both will exec produce alongside McHale, Russ Krasnoff and Gary Foster. The Community movie is a co-production between original producers Sony and Universal Television.
“Community was light years ahead of its time when it premiered on NBC in 2009 and we are thrilled to once again visit the brilliant minds of Dan Harmon, Andrew Guest and this impeccable cast,” said Sony co-president Jason Clodfelter. “We are grateful to Peacock, our partners at UTV and to all the zealous fans who have cherished this iconic show.”
Community was a perennial bubble comedy during its five-season run on NBC with Sony-turned-Apple execs Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht at the time negotiating a renewal for the ratings-challenged comedy by packaging it with other buzzy pilots that network execs wanted to pick up to series from the studio. Community’s luck ran out in 2014 when NBC officially canceled the comedy. Sony execs shopped the series elsewhere with streamers including Hulu kicking the tires on a potential revival. A month later the now defunct Yahoo Screen revived it for a 13-episode season and exited the expensive scripted originals space not long after its run ended.
Community further solidified its rank as a fan favorite during the streaming era, as its five-season library has been available on multiple platforms in the years since its conclusion. In addition to the movie, Peacock has also secured rights to the show’s full library, which it will share with Disney-controlled Hulu. Harmon, who was briefly fired from the series, has remained steadfast over the years that it wasn’t a question of “if” but “when” the Community movie would become a reality.
Revivals and movie updates have become increasingly popular in the Peak TV era as networks and streamers look for proven properties that can cut through in a landscape that features more television than ever before. Peacock, for its part, revived former USA Network favorite Psych with a couple of original movies as a way to bring those fans to the streamer.
In terms of Peacock, the movie — which does not yet have a premiere date — will help provide a “must-see” urgency to the struggling platform as it searches for relevance amid a crowded landscape. The service has struggled to break through and launch a platform-defining hit the way competitors like HBO Max (Sex and the City revival And Just Like That, Disney+ (all things Marvel and Star Wars), Hulu (The Handmaid’s Tale) Apple (Ted Lasso) and other rivals have.
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.